Summary: We need a passion to share our faith with those who don’t know God as well as the wisdom to know how.
Romans 9:1-13; 30-33
A. This begins a two chapter section in which Paul deals with the nation of Israel: what God has done in their past as well as what part-if any, they still occupy in the future plan of God.
B. Some eschatological interpretations have all the Jews-or at least most of them, alive during the millennium being saved. Thus God will not ultimately reject those they still consider his people but his people set aside at the present time which is the age of the Gentiles.
C. In the midst of this discussion, Paul also deals with some other thorny issues, like election. He gives examples of how God has chosen some people over others, seemingly even before they were born.
D. But woven throughout the section is Paul’s concern for those who are lost-the same concern all believers should have.
E. Paul had experienced the grace of God in a marvelous way, and because he had been a recipient, he wanted others to be as well.
I. Paul’s Grief Over Unbelief (vv. 1-5)
A. Our grief over the lost.
1. All of us can probably testify that we have loved ones, maybe even spouses or children, who do not know Christ as their Savior.
2. While it pains us over any person who is lost, knowing those close or related to us are is even more devastating.
3. If death overtakes them before they repent, it is even more painful, for our theological belief then reminds us we will never see them again. There will be an eternal separation from us just as it will be from God.
4. We often comfort ourselves by hoping they have made a last minute decision in their heart and mind that we are not aware of.
5. My maternal grandfather fell into this category. Though he attended church regularly, there was no evidence in his lifestyle he had ever trusted Christ. Prior to his death, he had many strokes which continued to incapacitate him, finally leading to his inability to talk or walk. My dad would talk to him about his spiritual state and his blue eyes would fill with tears, but we had no way of knowing whether or not he ever made life’s most important decision.
B. Paul’s grief over his lost kinsmen. (vv. 1-3)
1. Paul states his heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for his people who have rejected Christ.
2. While the Romans actually put Jesus to death, it is very evident the religious leaders were the ones who instigated the crowd to cry out for his crucifixion.
3. They were jealous of the crowds who followed Jesus-many of whom had previously been their followers.
4. They saw many of Jesus’ actions as breaking of the Law of Moses.
5. His claim to forgive sins was heresy in their minds and an act of equating himself with God whom he claimed to be-another matter that infuriated them.
6. Nor did they accept the proposition he had been resurrected from the grave.
7. Much of their unbelief lay in their misinterpretation of Old Testament scripture which they believed pointed to a Messiah who would deliver his people from their oppressors not die on a cross.
8. As Paul viewed so many of his brethren continuing to reject his message, it grieved him intensely.
9. He even went so far as to propose he would be willing to be cut off from God if it meant their salvation.
10. The import of this statement is amazing. How many of you would be willing to give up your eternal place in heaven and go to hell if it meant someone you loved would be saved. In other words, would you give someone else your salvation and lose yours in the process?
11. Paul was not simply making this statement but was honest in his willingness to do that very thing. While theologically impossible, the intent and passion are there.
12. These people are not what we would consider blood kin with Paul but simply members of his own race. He was a Jew.
13. Thus Paul was willing to trade his salvation not only for his blood kin but also for those of his own race. I think he would have done it for anyone.
14. Interestingly, these are the same people who have harmed Paul physically and tried to destroy his ministry.
15. The situation is similar to when Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who were crucifying him because they didn’t know or understand what they were doing.
16. Paul’s intense concern over his lost kinsmen reminds us of something John would write; “If anyone says, ‘I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who hates his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” (I John 4:20)